Rule 12.440. Setting Action for Trial

(a)     When at Issue. An action is at issue after any motions directed to the last pleading served have been disposed of or, if no such motions are served, 20 days after service of the last pleading. The party entitled to serve motions directed to the last pleading may waive the right to do so by filing a notice for trial at any time after the last pleading is served. The existence of crossclaims among the parties shall not prevent the court from setting the action for trial on the issues raised by the petition, counterpetition, and answer.

(b)     Notice for Trial. Any party may file and serve a notice that the action is at issue and ready to be set for trial. The notice must include an estimate of the time required and whether the trial is on the original action or a subsequent proceeding. The clerk must then submit the notice and the case file to the court. If there are any issues to be tried by jury, the notice for trial must so state.

(c)     Setting for Trial. If the court finds the action ready to be set for trial, it shall enter an order setting the action for trial, fixing a date for trial, and setting a pretrial conference, if necessary. In the event a default has been entered, reasonable notice of not less than 10 days shall be given unless otherwise required by law. In actions in which the damages are not liquidated, the order setting an action for trial shall be served on parties who are in default in accordance with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516. Trial shall be set within a reasonable time from the service of the notice for trial. At the pretrial conference, the parties should be prepared, consistent with rule 12.200, to present any matter that will prepare the parties for trial and that can expedite the resolution of the case. The trial court may also direct the parties to reciprocally exchange and file with the court all documents relative to the outcome of the case; a list of all witnesses, all issues to be tried, and all undisposed motions; an estimate of the time needed to try the case; and any other information the court deems appropriate. Any court filings shall be in conformity with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.425. This information should be served and filed no later than 72 hours before the pretrial conference or 30 days before the trial.

(d)     Sanctions. The failure to comply with the requirements of the order setting the action for trial subjects the party or attorney to appropriate court sanctions.

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